Gemfields Acquires Montepuez Gem Licenses

We caught up with Ian Harebottle, CEO of Gemfields, to find out how his company’s acquisition of mining and exploration rights at Mozambique’s Montepuez ruby deposit is set to change the global ruby trade forever.

Gemfields plc is the world’s leading supplier of responsibly sourced coloured gemstones, positioned at the intersection of exploration, mining and marketing. Specialising in high-quality emeralds and amethysts from Zambia, and, more recently, rubies from Mozambique, the company has a proven track record of delivering a consistent supply of high-quality, uncut, responsibly-sourced coloured gemstones to world markets.

“The company’s direct involvement in each step of the process is unique, and provides discerning customers with the assurance they require of the responsible journey their gemstones have taken from mine to market,” says CEO, Ian Harebottle. “Through this responsible and transparent approach, Gemfields has pioneered leading environmental, social and safety standards within the coloured gemstones sector.”

The company’s strategic aims, says Harebottle, include: becoming the global leader in emeralds, rubies, sapphires and other selected gemstones; promoting and repositioning the coloured gemstone industry alongside other luxury goods; ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality, professionally-graded, uncut coloured gemstones to world markets; promoting disclosure, transparency, education and certification across the coloured gemstone industry to engender greater consumer trust; and leading the way in coloured gemstone exploration, operational efficiencies and mining ethics.

Gemfields’ rough gemstones are brought to the market by way of private auctions three to four times a year, which are attended by the world’s top gem houses and lapidaries. The gemstones are sorted and graded according to the world’s most comprehensive emerald grading system, pioneered by Gemfields.

Gemfields champions established and emerging talent through exclusive collaborations with leading international jewellery designers. In 2013, Mila Kunis was announced as Gemfields’ global ambassador and continues to represent the company in their latest advertising campaigns.

An ethical approach
Gemfields is committed to mining in a responsible way, and, from the outset, Gemfields’ aim has been to turn the coloured gemstone business into a transparent industry allowing investors, local communities and national economies to benefit from its approach and expertise, says Harebottle.
“Its dedication to preserving the environment, nurturing relationships with local communities and upholding human rights has always been central to the Gemfields business.

“Globally accepted principles and standards in the coloured gemstone sector – particularly in terms of sustainability – are yet to be developed, and Gemfields is already playing a key role in leading and raising the professional standards of the sector.

“Gemfields has been able to greatly reduce the impact of its activities on the environment across all its operations and is pushing for its sites to meet certain international environmental standards over the next few years. The company is benefiting the communities and countries in which it operates in a meaningful way, through the provision of employment, education, healthcare, infrastructure and other facilities.

“At its Kagem emerald mine in Zambia, for example, the company has allocated over US$1 million for the construction of a secondary school at Chapula and a four-ward health centre at Nkana Village which are now underway.

“As the company builds on its sustainability strategy further, the aim is to be recognised as a business that operates to international and best practice standards and to work in partnership with other stakeholders to continue to pioneer sustainability in the coloured gemstone sector.”